Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has slammed the execution of Afzal Guru and said he fears it will fuel the feeling of alienation in his state, especially among young Kashmiris. He also said that he can't reconcile to the fact that Guru's family was denied one last meeting with him.
In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Mr Abdullah said: "The long term implications of Afzal Guru's execution are worrying as they are linked to the people of Kashmir, especially the younger generation. Like it or not, the execution has reinforced the point that there is no justice. We will have to deal with how we can change that sort of alienation."
Mr Abdullah has repeatedly stressed in the past that Guru's execution could have severe repercussions in Jammu and Kashmir. Yesterday, he appealed to his people to stay calm and warned of attempts by sections to gain political advantage out of the execution.
Today, the Chief Minister said the immediate fallout of Guru's hanging was security-related and it was far less challenging than the long term effects.
Guru, who was convicted for his role in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001, was hanged and buried at Delhi's Tihar Jail yesterday. His family in hometown Sopore, near Srinagar, has refuted the union government's claim that they were informed beforehand through a letter - cousin Mohammad Yaseen Guru said earlier today that they had "learnt about the execution through NDTV channel".
Mr Abdullah could not confirm if a letter went to Guru's family, but said they had the right to meet him. "As a human being, I cannot reconcile to the fact that Afzal Guru was not allowed to see his family. That is one of the biggest tragedies of this execution," he said.
While he made it clear he wasn't seeking a review of the case, Mr Abdullah said the view that Guru didn't get a fair trial was shared by people beyond his state. "The Supreme Court judgment in the case talks about strong circumstantial evidence and about satisfying the collective conscience of the society. You don't hang people because the society demands it. You hang people because the law demands it," he said.
The Chief Minister reiterated like yesterday that, unlike what his political rivals allege, he had no say in the execution. "My rivals want to pin the execution on me whereas my only job has been of dealing with its fallout. These decisions are not made by taking the entire Cabinet or the allies into confidence," Mr Abdullah said.
But the state government, he said, did anticipate Guru's hanging once 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab was executed in November last year. "After Kasab, I had asked security officials to begin work on a standard operating procedure that would be followed should Guru be executed," he said.